SANTA FE — Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales said today he’s considering jumping into next year’s race for lieutenant governor.
Gonzales, a Democrat, surprised many political insiders when he announced in September he would not seek another term as Santa Fe mayor. He said at the time he wanted to spend more time with his daughters.
But the recent twists in the race for lieutenant governor race have evidently caught Gonzales’ eye.
A leading candidate, Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla of Albuquerque, dropped out of the race Monday, following criticism over decade-old sexual harassment allegations.
Since then, another state senator, Howie Morales of Silver City, has entered the contest and other candidates are also weighing potential bids.
“I can confirm it’s something that I’m strongly considering,” Gonzales said in a statement. “Clearly, choosing to step out of the mayor’s office to focus on my family remains a key priority and the next couple of days will be spent consulting with my daughters whether to take this step.”
Gonzales, who is openly gay, is part of a prominent Santa Fe political family. He was first elected mayor in 2014.
In addition to Morales, the other four current Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor are: Doña Ana County Commissioner Billy Garrett; former state Rep. Rick Miera of Albuquerque; Eagle Nest resident Jeff Carr, a former member of the Public Education Commission; and David McTeigue of Rio Rancho, a juvenile probation officer.
There is just one Republican running for the office, former law enforcement officer Michelle Garcia Holmes of Albuquerque.
Per state law, New Mexico’s lieutenant governor makes an annual salary of $85,000.